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There always seems to be a new way of eating in the wellness industry. There’s always a new diet, and sometimes it is hard to know which diet is legit and sustainable. Well, the vegan paleo diet, also known as the Pegan diet, could be the next big thing in the wellness industry.
Food is medicine and perhaps even the most powerful drug on earth with the ability to cause or cure most illnesses. Food is more than just calories; it is information that controls aspects of our biology and health.
Over the next 20 years, it is estimated that the global cost of chronic diseases caused by what we eat will be $47 trillion. These diseases will cost over 50 million deaths annually, all of which are preventable.
These numbers are high, and they can all be lowered by doing just one thing, observing what we eat.
What is a vegan paleo diet?
A Pegan diet is the incorporation of vegan and paleo diet. People who practice a vegan diet refrain from eating all animal products as well as their byproducts. Vegans do not eat meat, eggs, milk, and cheese.
On the other hand, a paleo diet is a nutritional plan that mimics how people ate in the Paleolithic era, 2.5 million years ago. People who practice the Paleo diet eat food that is not processed, consisting mainly of fruits, nuts, vegetables, fish, and grass-fed meats.
These two diets, paleo, and vegan are quite different from each other. The paleo diet isn’t very vegan friendly. The Paleo lifestyle is heavy on the fat and protein, especially meat which is off the limit for vegans.
Vegan diet, on the other hand, advocates for meals that are dairy, meat, and fish-free. Vegans consume paleo restricted foods like legumes, beans, and grains.
Comparison of paleo and vegan diets
The paleo diet consists of vegetables that are not starchy, fresh fruits, leafy greens, grass-fed animal products, farm-fresh and pasteurized eggs, seeds, nuts, healthy fats like olive oil and coconut.
The paleo lifestyle advocated for traditional sweeteners like honey and maple syrup as opposed to refined sweeteners. Paleo lifestyle does not include beans, soy, cashews, or other legumes, and refined sugar.
A vegan diet has only one simple rule, no consumption of animal products. People change to a vegan diet due to its health benefits, weight loss as well as for environmental and ethical reasons.
However, despite these two diets seeming to be at odds, their goal is the same, eating whole foods and plants. Also, research has proven that a vegan diet helps in weight loss, lower cholesterol, as well as reverse diabetes. Do you know what other diets can do the same? Paleo diet.
The Pegan diet’s purpose is to get people to eat whole foods that are organic and fresh and to increase their vegetable consumption. The Pegan lifestyle also puts great emphasis on the consumption of high-quality foods. This lifestyle encourages you to eat products that are organic.
What should you eat in a Vegan Paleo diet?
If you want to try out the vegan paleo diet, you are probably wondering what you are supposed to eat. Are the options limited? Will I be giving up foods that I love? Well, here are the answers to your questions.
What about protein?
When opting to change to a paleo vegan lifestyle, there is one thing you cannot avoid, the protein debate. People who follow the paleo diet get their protein from nuts, leafy greens, seeds, and animal products.
On the other hand, vegans get their proteins from legumes, beans, seeds, nuts, and even some grains.
You can obtain enough protein from a vegan diet without necessarily consuming animal products. However, when you chose a vegan and paleo diet, is it possible to get protein in this way, and is it beneficial?
Well, the answer to the protein debate in the Pegan diet is not quite straight forward. What you should however know is that if you approach a Pegan diet carefully, the lifestyle will be healthy for you especially if you have digestive problems.
Proteins such as hemp are rich in all essential amino acids, and they are entirely vegan.
Almonds, chia, leafy greens, and veggies like broccoli are also sources of protein that are vegan. Therefore, it is possible to eat a paleo and vegan diet all at once and not miss out on your protein.
When you decide to start a vegan paleo diet, most of your food will be comprised of nuts, seeds, vegetables, and good fats.
Physicians recommended that 75% of the diet should be a combination of vegetables and fruits while restraining from taking gluten and dairy.
Prioritize eating leafy greens and veggies in order to get enough protein as well as nutrients like iron, calcium, and vitamin B.
However, if you love dairy, don’t rule out the vegan paleo diet just yet. According to physicians, if you must have dairy, you’re allowed to take either sheep or goat-based dairy products.
Not bad, right? The reason why the recommended milk is goat’s or sheep is that this milk is easily digested compared to cow’s milk.
However, if you can avoid dairy altogether, that is preferable. Besides, there are many dairy-free products in the market nowadays that you can take without compromising your diet.
According to experts, meat is not necessarily harmful, and it has good health benefits. The important thing when it comes to meat is how much of it you are eating and the type of meat you are consuming.
Consuming meat that’s clean and sustainably raised from poultry, lamb, and other esoteric meats like bison is not harmful. This type of meat is useful in reducing triglycerides, raising HDL (or good cholesterol), reducing belly, raising testosterone, lowering blood sugar, and increasing muscle mass.
On the other hand, the consumption of a lot of meat puts a lot of pressure on the planet. Production of meat requires a lot of water; it contributes to climate change and requires more energy inputs.
The vegan paleo diet suggests that you eat meat sparingly. Eat it as a side dish and not as the main meal. The meat should also be from animals that are grass-fed and raised sustainably.
For years we were told that eggs are bad because they contain cholesterol. Therefore, believing that eggs are bad, we ate white omelets and left out the nutrients, healthy fats, and vitamins.
Now, with more research, eggs are in the clear. They are no longer mentioned as a cause of heart disease or sources of bad cholesterol. Eggs are a great source of protein and nutrients available at a low cost.
If you’re on a Pegan diet or want to start your journey on this diet you should include healthy fats as part of your diet. Healthy fats are found in nuts, avocados, and coconut oil.
Avoid vegetable oils like corn, canola, and sunflower. Similar to many diets, avoid sugar or eat once in a while as a treat.
Grains are a grey area when it comes to a Pegan diet. Millions of Americans experience inflammation, digestive disorders, autoimmunity, and even obesity when they consume grains. So, does this mean that all grains cause digestive problems?
All grains can increase your blood sugar. However, this does not mean you shun grains. On a Pegan diet, you can eat grains but in small portions. Consume grains that have a low glycemic index like black rice and quinoa.
If you suffer from type 2 diabetes and you want to get off insulin and reverse the disease, a diet that is grain and bean-free can be a good experiment when practiced for a month or two to see how the diet will impact your health.
Beans are rich in fiber, minerals, and protein. They do, however, cause digestive problems for some people. A diet that is high in beans can trigger a spike in blood sugar if you have diabetes.
If you want to include beans in your Pegan diet, make sure you are adding them in moderate amounts like one cup a day.
A vegan paleo diet shouldn’t be dull. You can have snacks like raw cookies, pumpkin seeds, raw truffles made with figs or dates, coconuts, and almonds.
You can also have snacks that are baked with coconut flour or almond flour. Almond and coconut flour are permitted in a vegan paleo diet; therefore, you do not have to give up on the pastries you love.
Other characteristics of foods in a vegan paleo diet
A Pegan diet is a healthy diet, and just like any healthy diet, the foods consumed under this lifestyle should be free from additives, dyes, MSG, and artificial sweeteners.
Foods with a low glycemic index
Foods that have a low glycemic index in a Pegan diet include nuts, sardines, coconut, sesame, and pumpkin seeds.
Is the Vegan Paleo diet safe?
It is right for you to inquire whether the Pegan diet is safe. You do not want to have a lifestyle that, instead of improving your health and wellness, it harms it. You should enjoy your diet and not feel like it is negatively impacting your health.
Opinions differ as to whether the Pegan diet is safe. There are nutritionists who do not recommend this diet for a long-term period. This is because the diet can be slightly restrictive.
Pegan diets do not necessarily work for everyone. A vegan paleo diet could lead to a shortage of vitamin B12, a vitamin found in animal-based foods.
The diet also limits the consumption of meat to 25% of your food intake. A paleo diet, on the other hand, advocates for meat to take up between 45-65% of your food intake. This decrease in meat consumption is the cause of a deficiency in vitamin B12.
However, the Pegan diet is a great way for you to transition into a healthier lifestyle that is plant-based. A vegan paleo diet will increase your consumption of fruits and vegetables, which in turn increases your intake of valuable phytochemicals that help your body fight inflammation.
It will also assist you in moving from a hyper-processed and packaged eating pattern that is not healthy, which many people in the US consume.
Benefits of a Vegan Paleo Diet
Since a vegan diet excludes the consumption of animal protein that is detrimental and a paleo diet excludes the eating of dairy, and processed foods, a combination of both lifestyles could offer you incredible benefits.
A Pegan diet is rich in nutrients that are vital for your health. A paleo diet provides you with fiber, a nutrient helpful for weight control or loss, blood sugar control, diabetes, and heart disease prevention.
If the consumption of beans, legumes, and grains does not affect you, it is not necessary for you to transition into a paleo diet. However, if you are vegan and you experience digestive issues, you give the vegan paleo diet a shot to see how your health benefits from it.
Keep in mind, however, that there are nuts and seeds that may be hard to digest even in a Pegan diet. Therefore, mind the portion sizes of these nuts and seeds.
If you practice the paleo lifestyle but are looking for health benefits not provided by meat, you should consider transitioning to a whole foods vegan diet. However, if you don’t want to cut off the meat completely, the vegan paleo diet has got you covered.
There you have it, all the essential information about a vegan paleo diet. The one thing you have to remember is that for foods that are deemed as “grey areas” in a Pegan diet if you want to consume them, do so but in moderate portions.
Remember to be disciplined and take each day at a time as you transition to a Pegan diet so that you are able to sustain this diet.